Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate Labor Committee Chair Fred Madden and Senator Dawn Marie Addiego, which would revise certain penalties for violations of the “New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law,” passed the Senate today.
“The current fines for violating wage and hour laws have proven to be ineffective, so much so that repeat offenders find it more cost-effective to violate the law than to operate honestly,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Our workers deserve to be fairly compensated for their time and hard work and this bill would deter the bad actors from cheating our workers out of their hard-earned wages.”
Under the bill, S-562, an employer who violates any provision of that law would be guilty of a disorderly persons offense upon conviction of a first or second violation, and guilty of a crime of the fourth degree upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense.
“The time our workers spend on the clock is valuable, and their time and wages must be adequately protected,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “Increasing the penalties for violating wage and hour laws would help prevent our workers from being cheated out of the money they rightfully earned and the precious time they put in.”
The bill would increase the applicable fines as follows:
For a first violation, a minimum of $500 fine and would maintain the maximum fine of not more than $1,000;
For a second violation, a minimum fine of $1,000 and not more than $2,000; and
A third or subsequent violation would constitute a crime of the fourth degree, punishable by a minimum fine of $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for up to 18 months or by both the fine and imprisonment.
The bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 29-10.